Week #15- Dennis Duffy- Archivist

    We continued our February month of 32 views by looking at the the BC Archives, and all the fascinating glimpses into the past through the archival record.  This week though we explored the moving image with Dennis Duffy, the archivist who looks after that collection.

    Film is a sped up version of still images, so on the way out to the Archives building one of the kids’ club kids tried to make his own moving image…frame by frame.

    Eventually we made it into the Archives and met Dennis.  For this post I am going to let the images tell most of the story.  Take it away Dennis…

    Dennis started by showing the kids a Zoetrope, which is a moving image machine.  This one had a man doing a flip.  Each image on it’s own was just a drawing of a man.  But when the object was spun, then the man started to move.  Amazing.

    Next up was a flipbook.  Similar concept.  Each page on its own is just an image.  But when you flip it, the book becomes like a movie.  This one was fun, it had a bicycle running into a table.  Everyone was ok though.

    A few years ago Dennis wanted to make his own movie using this idea.  So he went out the Galloping Goose trail and took 260 photos along the path.  Then he animated the photos by putting 8 photos per second and put them all together.  This made a film from still images, which has the feel of running or biking along the path.  He called this Goose Steps, and showed this 32 second film to the Kids’ Club.  Here are some stills taken by the kids’ club as the movie was playing, so reversing the process in a way.  As far as the film, you’ll have to use your imagination.

    Then Dennis was interested in showing the kids some of the oldest films in the collection.  This one is called Down Western Slope, and was taken in 1899 from the front of a train coming down the Rocky Mountains.  Think about it, way back in 1899 it was more difficult to travel around the world.  So these films were quite exciting to ‘see and experience’ new place through the motion of a train and a passage of space and time.

    The next series of stills are from films at the beginning of World War I of soldiers training in Comox, kids in the Kootenays at a one room school house (1939), Pier D fire in Vancouver (1938), and the big snow fall in Victoria of 1916.  We saw still images the previous week with Frederike, and for this visit saw the film.

    The last thing that Dennis showed us was a hand crank.  With this we were able to see the motion of actual film sliding past a viewer.  This particular film was a called Big Game Camera Holiday, and was a German wildlife film.  It was a little difficult seeing the image, but really fun to crank the machine!

    Then it was back to the museum.  On the way we passed by some contemporary moving images.  There is a screen that is broadcasting the Sochi Olympics in our lobby.  Film past and present was all around us this day.




    Chris O'Connor


    Learning Program Developer

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